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Russia and Other BRICS Countries Discuss Space Cooperation

A BRICS Heads of Space Agencies meeting took place in Moscow on May 23-24 to discuss cooperation and future projects. Roscosmos head, Yuri Borisov, said that all the countries shared Russia’s concerns about ensuring the safety of space activities. “This is very important and will be a problem in the near future. It is better to solve this problem together.” Taking into account all the BRICS countries, they have together more than 1,200 spacecraft in orbit.

Borisov called on the BRICS countries to join the international system for ensuring the security of space which Russia plans to launch by the end of 2024. This global system would be constructed around an accessible information platform with software capable of exchanging data and monitoring the situation in near-Earth orbit, providing real-time updates on space debris, potential collisions, and other safety concerns.

Borisov also said that in the future Roscosmos was considering options for expanding its functionality in terms of exchanging Earth remote-sensing data (and other space services).

There was also a proposal to create a BRICS Space Council, which Russia supported. Such a body could carry out operational coordination of work on joint projects. The proposal also met with strong support from South Africa.

During the meeting, the issue of lunar exploration was also discussed. Zhang Kejian, the head of the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA) also invited the BRICS to join the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS). He also expressed a readiness to promote the development of the BRICS satellite constellation at a higher level.

Representatives from the Brazil space agency were invited to visit leading Russian enterprises involved in the space industry. Borisov also outlined broad prospects for cooperation with Ethiopia. In addition, program director Mohsen Al-Awadi for the United Arab Emirates Mission to the Asteroid Belt also expressed interest in space cooperation with Russia.

During the meeting, the participants considered a draft joint statement by the Heads of BRICS Space Agencies calling on the global community to make every effort to prevent any type of weapons from being deployed in space and to refrain from any activities that could risk damage to the space environment and the long-term sustainability of space activities, including the use of civilian space infrastructure for undeclared purposes.